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Drug Under – Forgive and Forget (Review)

Drug Under – Forgive and Forget (2012, Down Boy Records)

1.  Forgive and Forget
2. I Need To See
3. Borrowed Time
3. Never Again
5. Echoes
6. Down
7. Change My Ways
8. All The Lies
9. It’s Over

Romero – Vocals
Eric Greenwall – Guitars
Pat Searcy – Guitars
Aaron Greenwall – Bass
Mike Crisler – Drums

Producer: Mark Obermeyer, Jerry Dixon & Erik Turner

Never judge a book (or album) by its cover! When this Denver, CO.-based band was first brought to my attention, going by the cover art and knowing that the label is owned and operated by Warrant’s Jerry Dixon & Erik Turner, I assumed Drug Under was going to be the type of hard rock act that drew heavily on ’80s influences. Not so. They are a modern hard rock/metal act that fits right in with the rest of the bands on active rock radio these days.

I can’t say this type of rock that features an alternative influence and crunchy guitars is a favorite of mine but Drug Under has their moments where they really shine. “I Need To See” and “Never Again” have the most commercial appeal, I think, and are my favorites. Very cool songs that should be on radio. “Forgive and Forget”, “Borrowed Time” & “Echoes” all have enough of a hard driving edge to keep those that just want to bang their heads satisfied. “All The Lies” and “It’s Over” are of particular interest to me. There’s some nice melodies in the melancholy moments of both of these rockers that show potential for this band to write some great ballads later down the line.

Forgive and Forget is an album sure to appeal to fans of the modern rock/metal scene and ’90s rock/metal. While I am not going to say that Drug Under knocked it out of the park on this release, it’s still an enjoyable listen that shows this is a talented band that has a bright future.

Highlights: “I Need To See”, “Never Again”, “Change My Ways”, “All The Lies”, “It’s Over”

Buy ‘Forgive And Forget’ at

Warrant – Rockaholic

Warrant – Rockaholic (2011, Frontiers Records)

1. Sex Ain’t Love … 3:57
2. Innocence Gone … 3:40
3. Snake … 3:44
4. Dusty’s Revenge … 4:26
5. Home … 3:28
6. What Love Can Do … 4:19
7. Life’s A Song … 4:10
8. Show Must Go On … 2:48
9. Cocaine Freight Train … 3:04
10. Found Forever … 4:15
11. Candy Man … 4:05
12. Sunshine … 3:54
13. Tears In The City … 3:35
14. The Last Straw … 4:14

Robert Mason – Lead Vocals
Erik Turner – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jerry Dixon – Bass, Backing Vocals
Joey Allen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steven Sweet – Drums, Backing Vocals

Producer: Keith Olsen

So there’s a new Warrant album and yet again Jani Lane is missing. Jani briefly rejoined the band in 2008 (sending Jaime St. James back to Black ‘N Blue) but now Big Cock/ex-Lynch Mob vocalist Robert Mason has been with them for the last four years playing live shows and finally that relationship has paid off in the form of a studio album.

The loose rock ‘n’ roll feel from 2006’s Born Again has been polished up on Rockaholic but like that album, it doesn’t really sound all that much like Warrant. This is not an album I think the band would have or could have written with Jani. That isn’t a knock on Jani Lane, the band or Robert Mason. It’s just different chemistry. Janie was a great thoughtful lyricist who excelled at ballads, with Robert Mason the band just wants to rock. They don’t try to repeat the past and make an “eighties album” or “Warrant-sounding” songs with one exception: I felt a bit of an old school Warrant vibe on “Life’s A Song”.

If anything, I think the album sounds like Lynch Mob. It’s just so hard to wrap my head around anything as being Warrant without Jani on vocals. Luckily, that has deterred NOT me from enjoying Rockaholic. Robert Mason sings his butt off on this album and proves once again why he is one of the best vocalists in rock right now. He doesn’t try to sing like Jani, he’s just being himself and kudos for that! It’s easy to say Mason is the best singer Warrant has ever had.

But how does this album compare to the band’s early releases? Pretty well, I must say. Though I was really looking to this release, I wasn’t sure how it was going to sound and I have to say that the album is great! Anyone who is a fan of ’80s rock/metal will should love this album. It has that whole vibe while still sounding fresh and relevant. You want rockers? You’ve got “Sex Ain’t Love”, the defiant “The Last Straw”, “Show Must Go On”, the fantastic and sex-charged “Cocaine Freight Train” (which I think may be one of my favorite Warrant songs… ever) and the cowboy rocker “Dusty’s Revenge”. You want ballads? There’s “Home” (another real standout), “What Love Can Do”, “Tears In The City” and “Found Forever”.

This is a very well done release from top to bottom. While I certainly have my favorite tracks, I really don’t think there’s any filler on this album. Overall, Warrant sounds even more revitalized and energetic than they did with Born Again and while I don’t think Warrant has really ever turned in a bad album (though maybe they didn’t always go in the direction I would have preferred) Rockaholic is easily the best thing they’ve released since Cherry Pie. We now finally have a recorded document of the Mason era and hopefully this is just the first of many albums they do with him.

Highlights: “Sex Ain’t Love”, “Snake”, “Home”, “What Love Can Do”, “Life’s A Song”, “Cocaine Freight Train”, “Candy Man”, “The Last Straw”

Buy ‘Rockaholic’ at!

WARRANT – Born Again

Warrant – Born Again (2006, Cleopatra Records/Deadline Records)

1. “Devil’s Juice” … 3:28
2. “Dirty Jack” … 4:02
3. “Bourbon County Line” … 3:52
4. “Hell, CA” … 4:20
5. “Angels” … 4:33
6. “Love Strikes Like Lightning” … 3:56
7. “Glimmer” … 3:31
8. “Roller Coaster” … 2:48
9. “Down In Diamonds” … 4:00
10. “Velvet Noose” … 3:01
11. “Roxy” … 3:16
12. “Good Times” … 4:10

Jaime St. James – Lead Vocals
Joey Allen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Erik Turner – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jerry Dixon – Bass, Backing Vocals
Steven Sweet – Drums, Backing Vocals

Additional Musicians:
Pat Regan – Keyboards

Produced by: Pat Regan

Ah, Warrant. They just can’t keep it together, can they? Musically, throughout their entire career, they’ve done fine, but as far as keeping the “classic” lineup going (the lineup that gave us the classic hair metal albums Dirty Rotten Stinking Filthy Rich and Cherry Pie), it’s been quite a struggle.

In 2006, the “classic” reunion almost happened. The version of Warrant that enjoyed the most commercial success just missed getting back together. In January of that year, singer Jani Lane left the band and the following month “classic” members Joey Allen and Steven Sweet rejoined. Coincidence? Or conspiracy? I seem to remember some rumors swirling around that the one thing that kept Joey and Steven from ever rejoining the band was the fact that Jani was still in it. So he was out, and in very short order, they were both back in.

Enter former Black ‘n Blue vocalist Jaime St. James and a new album was fast tracked. It was great news to me to know a new Warrant album was coming because with Jani at the helm, despite the fact that he was/is a great songwriter, Warrant seemed content to merely be a nostalgia act and to do hair band package tours in the Summer. They never went fully in on the early 2000s hair metal resurgence and it never made sense to me when they didn’t join in and do a reunion/new album like many of their peers had done. I’m sure Jani’s alcohol problems go a long way in explaining just why it didn’t happen though.

To the music at hand, despite my anticipation for a Warrant album, I wasn’t sure if Born Again was going to be any good at all. As I said above, Jani’s a great writer and he was the lead creative force in the band, but founding members Jerry Dixon and Erik Turner (and St. James to an extent) really stepped up and delivered one of the 2006’s most surprising and pleasant rock albums.

It’s not really retro, the band doesn’t attempt to capture past glories, but it still has a cool old school hard rock feel. The album doesn’t sound outdated, but it doesn’t sound like a lame attempt to sound modern either. It’s a little more dirty, raw and bluesy than anything Warrant has done before. Sounds like a bit of St. James’ Black ‘n Blue influence has worn off on the band.

A good effort from a band that I was ready to write off. There’s definite promise in them post-Lane and that fact would become ever more important after Lane rejoined the group and lasted all of nine months in 2008 when he was ousted again due to alcohol abuse.

I hope Jani really pulls it together, his non-Warrant projects are solid, so I know he’ll at least musically be fine without Warrant but I’m also looking forward to seeing what Dixon & Turner wild do next with ex-Lynch Mob/current Big Cock vocalist Robert Mason up front (Jaime St. James has since reunited Black ‘n Blue).

Highlights: “Devil’s Juice”, “Dirty Jack”, “Bourbon County Line”, “Hell, CA”, “Angels”, “Love Strikes Like Lightning”, “Roxy”

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